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Written by the La La Lista Music Writers staff: Evy Duskey, Jorge Farah, Jamie Larson, Emilyann McKelvey, Ezequiel Mancilla, Pablo Pérez.
Welcome to a new installment of La La Lista’s Monthly Music Roundup, The country may be falling apart due to a number of factors that are fully out of our control, but hey, the music is still good! Nothing can stop us in our mission to bring you our picks of the very best music released over the last month (or so).
Remember: we do this (just about) every month, so click here if you want to check out our selections from past months. You really should, because they’re really good. And one last thing — are you an artist? Do you have a recent release that you think we absolutely should check out? Hit us up on Instagram, or by emailing [email protected]. There are no guarantees that we’ll pick it for the column, but we will listen with open eyes and open hearts.
Bubis Vayins- “Me Re Cuesta Abrir el Corazón”
It’s not easy to exist on a post-pandemic planet (are we post-pandemic? This writer is currently covering from her first bout of Covid). Heartless algorithms, vapid social media posturing, holidays that feel lonelier than usual…the vague sense that nothing will ever be “normal” and as good as it was ever again. We are bored and hateful. But as the days tick on, and the dark cloud fails to disperse, we begin to ask ourselves the famed Reddit query “am I the asshole?” The latest release from the Rosarino indie pop band Bubis Vayins justifies the lyric’s punky and pugnacious attitude with the eponymous line “me re cuesta abrir el corazón.” But judging from the sweet, sing-along chord progressions and chugging guitars, maybe it’s not all so bad, after all.
Ejército Revolucionario del Paco – “Un Ducu”
I love a rabbit hole, which is what it likes to jump into the discography of Ejército Revolucionario del Paco. Despite finding almost little to no information on the Buenos Aires 2-piece, it’s evident that the duo have bobbed and weaved between the noisier elements of punk, sludge, doom and other visceral genres. After a slew of demos, EPs, and singles comes the culmination of this work with their self-titled album. The ferocity emanated by the group is especially prevalent in the track ‘Un Ducu’, a more digestible offering for first-time listeners of the group. Kicking off into a driving pace from the get-go, washed-out cymbals with sharp punchy snares accent throughout the song with robotic precision. The wall of static distortion from the riff-heavy guitar keeps things dipping into a mix of hard-rock but with punkish vocals. The finale strips everything back to a very simple, caveman-like half-time beat before coming to a brilliant close.
Fin del Mundo – “Hacia los Bosques”
Do you ever get the feeling that a band has been pulling at all the stops and succeeding? That’s what the pibas from Fin del Mundo feel like to me with the release of their latest EP. La Ciudad Que Dejamos is solid proof of how the gap between dream pop and post-rock can be gapped with surprising ease. The opener “Hacia Los Bosques” sounds peppy and deeply nostalgic as the reverb-drenched ambient sounds slide the curtains open. The absolute highlight has to be the amazingly rich drum sound and just how easily the dynamics change from a soothing dark melody to a propelling distorted guitar line from one movement to the other. Vocalist Lucía Masnatta sparse vocals sound like an invocation, and rightly so since the lyrics on this track are from an extract from the poem “Vida” from the Argentinian author Alfonsina Storni. We not only love this song, but we strongly encourage everybody to give this brand new release a spin, texture, and production-wise, it’s a huge step forward for these bonafide alt-rock icons.
Jauuar – “Rapid Fire”
Led by Buenos Aires-based Venezuelan singer-songwriter Alfonso Hernández, Jauuar has been making waves in the porteño indie music scene since the release of 2017’s En el Frío Me Visto Mejor. In the couple of years that followed their studio debut, the band continued to expand both their lineup and sonic palette, but always stayed true to the core of their sound, which they self-describe as “exótico chill.” Released in 2022, “Rapid Fire” is the latest in a series of titles that perfectly showcase the band’s ambitious stride and their knack for crafting genre-bending anthems; a lavish piece of atmospheric pop that could equally fit in a Spaghetti Western soundtrack or in an overly-curated playlist at a fancy bistro with incredibly expensive cocktails. The fact that the lyrics are in both English and Spanish (the latter provided by Silvestre y la Naranja’s Justo) just emphasizes the cosmopolitan feel of the song, one that feels timeless and yet unequivocally tuned in to the pulse of contemporary music.
Loli Molina, Chancha Via Circuito – “Los Andes”
One of my favorite things is when you can hear a collaborative work between two musicians and you can very clearly hear who brought what to the table, while still holding up as its own independent piece of music. Musicians Loli Molina and Chancha Via Circuito recently joined forces to record the EP Al Sur, and it’s immediately one of our favorite releases of the year. And that’s in large part due to the clarity of the artistic voices involved, with Loli Molina’s gift for melody and Pedro Canale’s unique folktronica sound shining in equal measure. “Los Andes” is a gorgeous track that serves as a wonderful appetizer for the full EP, which you should definitely be listening to in its entirety right now. What are you waiting for? Go.
Maca Mona Mu – “La Cobardía”
Maca Mona Mu is one of our favorite singers and songwriters around right now. And her new album KELP points towards a continuation (and refinement) of her characteristic style, steeped in drama and pathos. “La Cobardía” is botht eh first single from the album and also the opening track, and Maca Mona Mu throws out a quick succession of rich and interesting musical ideas within its unusually short runtime (the track is only a minute and a half long, as if making a point about conciseness). While it opens as a gently plucked acoustic-guitar-and-vocals folk song, any notion of minimalism is immediately thrown out the window when the song’s tribal drum beat and lush strings come crashing in, with Mona Mu’s vocals quickly turning more confrontational and urgent. A fantastic start to what will undoubtedly be one of the greatest albums of the year.
Shu – “Portia”
Local four-piece Shu is quietly establishing itself as one of the most dependable weavers of sonic textures in the scene, and the release of their 5-track self-titled EP further strengthens their case. And while the track carries the listener through various distinct moods in a manner that feels both otherworldly and effortlessly natural, a feeling of vaguely disquieting foreboding pervades throughout. “Portia” is a great example of the group’s ability to craft labyrinthian soundscapes with the use of multiple basslines, jazz-influenced drumming, and layers upon layers of synths. The lyrics, consisting of a collection of evocative images, underlines the track’s dreamy and unnerving feeling. “En tus ojos no hay reflejo / en tu piel ya no hay fuego” (“there is no reflection in your eyes / there is no fire in your skin”). Is it about a relationship gone wrong? Is it about taking peyote and achieving weightlessness? Hard to say. And we’re happy to keep it that way.
Superpapilas – “Sale el Sol”
“Sale el Sol” is the opening track from Superpapilas‘s album Miércoles de Siluetas, and it is fun. Yes, the song is cleverly put together — it consists of various discreet sections stitched together through the use of textures and production flourishes, moving from a choppy and distorted guitar to Beatlesy psychedelia and a dreamy keyboard coda, with the group’s vocal arrangements keeping it all from feeling disjointed — but dammit, it’s also just plain fun to listen to. The song falls apart, stops, starts, slows down, speeds back up, and appears to turn sideways through the cours of its 3 minutes and 37 seconds, like a little pocket symphony of Argentinian indie. A great track from a group with great promise. We love it.
Tati Diaz Bonilla – “No Te Alejes”
Sometimes all you really need in life is sugar. Or, in its absence, synth lines. “No Te Alejes” by Tati Diaz Bonilla is a great delivery mechanism for the sugary thrills of 1980s synth pop. Actually, it’s 80s synth pop filtered through the sound of early-2000s stalwarts such as VHS or Beta. It’s open-hearted and almost painfully earnest, with no pretense or affectations of coolness. It’s a pure pop song in the best sense of the word, with a larger-than-life synth hook and a fist-pumping beat designed to make even the most fervent New Romantics devotee blush. And the lyrics are a desperate, strikingly vulnerable plea for a lover to stay. It’s perfect.